McLaren Deny Involvement in Force India Lineup

Shortly after Ron Dennis announced his withdrawal as team principal of McLaren Mercedes, the 61-year old Englishman insisted once again that the Woking-based team has no business in setting up the drivers' lineup for Vijay Mallya's Force India. Following rumors that McLaren may be trying to debut young DTM ace Paul di Resta in the Force India roster for 2009 were immediately slammed by Dennis, who also revealed that McLaren's role in Force India's decisional process is purely consultative.

“We have no contractual rights to those sorts of decisions within Force India. But of course there were opinions expressed and sought. But at the end of the day Vijay (Mallya) and his sponsors are the individuals who have to decide what is the right choice for them,” said Dennis at the unveiling of McLaren's MP4-24 car for 2009.

"There were opportunities for some of the drivers we have relationships with, and obviously Mercedes-Benz is extremely supportive of the development of young drivers. There were discussions but the driver choice was ultimately theirs,” added the former McLaren team principal.

Although Force India have announced their drivers' lineup for the upcoming season – both racing and testing drivers – people started talking about the possibility of Di Resta making an early debut in the series from as early as 2009. Runner-up in the DTM championship for Mercedes works team last year, Di Resta seemed likely candidate for at least a testing job with the Indian outfit.

Also, McLaren's testing driver Pedro de la Rosa was linked with a move to Mallya's team in 2009 – as a racing driver – following some testing sessions conducted by the Spaniard for Force India in December 2008. This, and the fact that De La Rosa publicly announced he has not given up his dream of racing in Formula 1 in the near future, led to even more speculations.
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